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The Dark Ages
Transcript of The Dark Ages
-G.K. Chesterton, Chaucer
Light in the Dark Ages
The Collapse of the Roman Empire
The Dark Ages
Rise of Monasticism
Pope St. Gregory the Great
Rise of Islam
“The City that had taken
the whole world was itself taken”
Europe was officially now in a period called the dark ages, lasting from 450-1050
-Safe havens for literacy, faith, and culture. They served a purpose for the Church: spiritual strength, seminaries, and centers for evangelization.
The Patriarch of Western Monasticism
-590-604, became Pope in 590.
-He gave away his wealth to found 7 monasteries and help the poor
-He wanted to remain a simple monk and was asked to be pope, he fled the city to avoid the office but then had a intense calling in his soul to return
Islam spread from India to North Africa to Spain (and other parts of Europe) to Asia Minor
Muslim army became the best in the world, no one could wage a holy war against them, as army expanded, so did Islam.
638-Muslim forces defeat Persians and sack Jerusalem, this sends shock through East and West Christianity who would later counterattack to take back Holy Land in the Crusades
643-They take over Alexandria (from Christians)
698-All North Africa is claimed and the 600 years of N. African Christianity, its apologists, early doctors of the church were destroyed
711- take Spain, (732) Battle of Tours marks Muslim expansion into Europe (against Franks in France who retreated into Spain). Spain and parts of France will be controlled by Muslims for over 700 years until 1492 the Reconquista
717-Tries to take Constantinople (from Christians) but are defeated
Conversion in France
-Theodosius (346-395) last to rule a united Roman Empire...Upon his death in 395,
-wealth and power causing corruption in Rome
-Christianity is the fix to this (not an overnight change)
-Romes still existing wealth was tempting to other groups of people (strange germanic tribes called Barbarians) outside the empire
-What did the barbarians bring?Illiteracy, their own justice, primitive religions, and brutal methods with women and children.
Setting the Stage
Since you were wondering about Theodosius....
In the city of Salonika (Salonica), in northern Greece, a local military commander of German descent imprisoned a popular chariot driver for homosexuality. A crowd of outraged fans, anti-German in sentiment, lynched the military commander. Theodosius retaliated by ordering a massacre of seven thousand or so of the city's inhabitants, and the influential bishop Ambrose refused sacraments to Theodosius until he accepted penance for this deed.
Theodosius did his penance, and in gratitude for his reconciliation with Ambrose he acted on Ambrose's views as to what should be done about paganism. Theodosius banned the Olympic games – which were considered pagan. He prohibited visits to pagan temples and forbade all pagan worship. Ordinary Christians were delighted at this move, and mobs of Christians joined the anti-pagan program by robbing pagan temples of their treasures and looting temple libraries, causing the disappearance of many writings. In the repression some of the most splendid buildings of Grecian architecture- were destroyed.
Pagans in the east tried to defend their freedom to worship, and in the west some pagans rallied in an attempt to overthrow Valentinian II. Valentinian II was assassinated. A military commander in the west, being a German and not eligible to be emperor, created an anti-Christian puppet named Eugenius, who announced that the hour of deliverance from Christianity was at hand.
In response, Theodosius cracked down harder on pagans in the eastern half of the empire. He made pagan worship punishable by death. In 394, he led an army of Visigoth cavalry and others against the reign of Eugenius, defeating Eugenius' forces at the Frigidus River, in the extreme northeast of Italy, a victory the Church was later to interpret as the work of God triumphing over paganism.
With his victory against Eugenius, Theodosius moved against paganism in the western half of the empire as he had in the east, wiping out freedom of worship across the whole of the empire. Then in 395, perhaps because of the strain of his recent military campaign against Eugenius, Theodosius died, at the age of fifty, believing that the empire had been unified by his wisdom and had become secure under the guidance of God.
The guidance of God included rule by Theodosius' two sons: an eleven year-old, Honorius, who inherited the position of emperor in the west, and Arcadius, eighteen, who inherited rule in the eastern half of the empire. Honorius was moronic and would eventually spend much of his time raising chickens. Arcadius was pious and gentle, but he was also incompetent and ill-tempered.
Sensing the weakness of the new rulers and taking advantage of the disunity between the western and eastern halves of the empire, the Visigoths marched into Greece where they sacked Corinth, Argos and Sparta. Athens was spared by paying the Visigoths a ransom. In 397, Stilicho (Honorius' Commander and Chief) led troops against the Visigoths and drove them north into Illyricum, which the Visigoths also plundered. There the Visigoths settled with permission from the eastern emperor, Arcadius. And Arcadius made the leader of the Visigoths, Alaric, prefect of the province.
-410 Alaric (Visigoths) sack Rome
-455 Vandals slain current Emperor
-476-Odoacer (Herulis)overthrew Emperor
-493 Theodoric (Ostrogoths) overthrew Odacer
...Last ten emperors nearly sat for a few years before invaded by next Barbarian Tribe
-Roads became unsafe, collapse of education, economy in decline, crime increased, people afraid, towns began to shrink
-Empire was now a rural society of isolated towns and villages
-There was no law but the sword, no justice but the stronger could extract from the weaker
The Church had to adapt to dramatic cultural change.
-Governing structure was modeled after Rome
-People assumed destiny of Christianity was intertwined with the Empire especially after Theodosius' laws
-Barbarian invasions helped Church realize she was not wedded to the Roman Empire and had to adapt to this cultural shift
-See the need to evangelize the violent and pillaging Germanic Tribes
-Barbarianism had overwhelmed civilizations, Barbarians had no system to replace the Roman "order, culture, and learning,"
Conversion of Barbarian tribes brings a civilized existence and salvation to Europe that will remain ingrained in their culture to this day
What is Monasticism?
-way of life (with vows) in prayer and self denial lived in seclusion of the world in order to seek God through asceticism and silence
-Started with St. Paul of Thebes (first hermit-who in 4th century fled persecution from Decius to prayer and seculsion in Egpyt)
(Cartusians or Carmelites)
Emergence of New Christian Culture
-Effects on Europe:
1-recovery and evangelization of rural society (majority of population was in cities but monks and nuns spread into farming areas which met the needs of the people)
(cheif centers of learning-teaching others how to read and write, monks copied and retained literary works from Greco-Roman empire, scriptoria)
3- Civilization influence
(civilizing effect on Germanic people by their holiness and discipline, taught barbarians how to farm, carpentry, stone masonry, ironwork, and infused spiritual meaning into work as a form of adoration to Christ)
-480-547, Born in Italy, educated in Rome initially- then the decay or the city... moved out to cave to live as a hermit, time passes and others join him
-Reputation as a miracle worker
-Found 12 monasteries and placed a head superior in each one
Rule of St Benedict
-Adopted by all monastic communities throughout medieval period
-Spirit of peace, love, and moderation in ascetical life
-Schedule divided into 4 parts:
-Chanting the Psalms and reciting prayers in Community (4 hours)
-Private prayer and scriptural reading (4 hours)
-Physical Labor (6 hours)
-Meals and Sleep (10 hours)
St. Benedicts Twin Sister
Established a convent under Rule of St. Benedict
Couldn't spend much time together but reunited their bodies in the same grave
-His papacy is often the marker for the beginning of the medieval age
-His leadership was needed as the Lombard's invaded and pillaged the cities, Romes population was reduced by 75% and the areas surrounding had famines and plagues
-He established the chant known as Gregorian Chant
-Against the Eastern Emperors wants, St. Gregory established peace with the Lombards (start to see papal care for Rome, and Church vs State competitiveness)
-He converted many people including the Saxons in England and the Lombards
-encouraged the use of music at mass
-written and preserved with series of marks and dashs, not precise pitches
Muhammad born near Mecca around 570.
-Married wealthy, 6 kids all die except daughter
-Decided to withdrawal from world for mystical prayer in a cave
-612-has a vision of angel Gabriel calling him to be herald of Allah. He tells people, they follow and write down his revelations resulting in the Koran.
Muslim Territory by 8th Century
Expansion under Muhammad
Expansion under R. Caliphate
Expansion under U. Caliphate
Conversion in Spain
Conversion in Ireland
Conversion in Scotland
Conversion of Germany
It was a great task because of their uncivilized ways but we can attribute the fruit of their evangelization and conversion to the patient and dedicated labor of monks.
1. Missionaries emerged especially in Ireland, England, and Germany
2. Christian Queens influenced pagan husbands to convert which led to the populations following their King.
The Bishop introduces christian princess St. Clotilda to the pagan Frank chief Clovis. They marry. Clotilda prays for his conversion. Their two children die, Clovis becomes even more opposed. Then promises God if he wins the battle against Alemanni then he would convert and be baptized. Clovis and three thousand men of his troops (descendants later to be known as the
) presented themselves in the church to be baptized. The Franks were the first of the tribes to embrace the Catholic faith. They united with Gaul by conquering more tribes and Christianized those lands.
Spain had been Christian since the apostles but the Visigoths invaded, which weakedn their system. St. Hermengild (son of visigoth King) married Catholic princess and eventually converted. Catholicism again became religion of Spain. after the Muslims invaded the people chose to live under Muslim rule or retreat to other areas. Those who lived under Muslim rule called themselves
. It is not until 1492 during the Reconquista under Queen Isabella when Spain became Christian again.
Druid paganism had been dominant in Ireland.
was kidnapped from Britain and taken to Ireland. He lived as a slave but spent much time in prayer. He escaped back to Britain, but then had a vision to go back to Ireland. Around 430's he began studies to become a priest and is consecrated the Bishop of Ireland. Within 15 years the entire Northern half of Ireland had heard the word of God and many were baptized and religious communities were started.
Irish monasteries became the most important centers of learning in all of Europe. Christianity among Celtic people developed a little differently them among Roman people.
Fast facts: Germanic people had defeated the Romans in a few battles but officially Rome fell August 24, 410 and the city was pillaged for 4 days.
-Visigoths (led by Alaric) had Italian peninsula then retreated to Spain and Ostragoths (led by Theodoric) took Italian peninsula from Visigoths - both were the first ones to invade the empire,
"fierce" (led by Clovis) settled in Gaul
- "all men"settled in Germany, and Switzerland
- in Germany but were defeated by the Romans in 436
- lived along the Elbe and the Danube, settled along modern day Austria and Hungary then finally to Italy in 500's
-most ruthless, this is where we get the word used today "Vandalism", relentless persecutors of the Church. 406 attacked Gaul, before moving to Spain and N. Africa
Nomadic ferocious people from the East, invaded Gaul thus threatening the Western Empire, Attila was their leader, before invasion he had been held hostage in Rome where he studied Latin and learned of Romes weaknesses. After having devastated Gaul he was attacked by the allied Roman and Visigoth armies. (450's) As he set his eyes to take Rome, Pope St. Leo the Great went to meet him. In one of the greatest mysteries of history, Attila decided not to attack Rome. It is said that a procession of priests and deacons singing hymns and prayers came upon Attila at at the end of the procession was an old man on a horse (the pope). Attila said "what is your name?" The pope responded "Leo the Pope" And Attila withdrew from Italy entirely. This event truly changed the course of history! (The Pope was able to repeat the same success with Genseric the leader of the Vandals, who decided not to burn Rome.)
Conversion of Barbarians
(521-597) was important to evangelizing N. Britain and Scotland and founded many important monasteries in the Irish tradition. It is said that he wrote around 300 books, only 2 have survived. He anointed the Scottish King which led to the conversion of the Scottish people.
Conversion in France
renewed Christian vigor in these areas where it was waning. He founded a monastery in the Italian Alps in 612. He spread Celtic spirituality which bore lasting fruits like the practice of frequent penance. Not until 1215 at the 4th Lateran Council did the church officially teach that every individual Christian was bound to make at least one private penance a year.
Conversion in England
Spread of Christianity had some setbacks with the Angles, Jutes, and Saxons.
St. Augustine of Canterbury
(a Benedictine) shared the Catholic faith with the Anglo-Saxon people. Pope St. Gregory the Great sent him to England for the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons. (St. Gregory before becoming pope met a bunch of Angles people-blond and blue eyes in the street and discovered they were slaves. He called them Angels and never forgot them). When Augustine and his monks were in France they heard appalling stories of the brutal people in England and asked the Popes permission to return to Rome, he declined their request. Augustine tried historical methods of introducing the Pagan king to a Christian woman but didnt convert him. He allowed the Christians to evangelize his people and even gave them a monastery. On Christmas day 597 more then 10,000 Saxons were baptized. Many churches were built and the king eventually decided to be baptized.
(673-735) "Father of English History" Anglo-Saxon scholar who contributed greatly to English monasteries curriculum's (Latin grammar, poetry, astronomy, chronology, and many commentaries on the Bible and history.) The Roman Catholic Church became the foundation for English culture because of his works. His mathematical computations made the distinction of BC/AD and his work utilized the Christian measurement of time and was made popular throughout Europe. He was given the title "Venerable" and was declared"Doctor of the Church"
St. Boniface (675-754) succeed in converting the Germans and created a monastic model that would flourish. He entered a Benedictine monastery at age of 7. He struggled greatly with their conversion and began to despair, he researched the saints to find that the faith was not except from obstacles. St. Boniface cut down the Oak of Thor (pagan tree) and gained much authority from the Pagans because they felt free since Thor did not strike Boniface down, paganism must be false. Many converted, and they made a chapel out of the trees wood.
Conversion of the Slavs
St Cyril and Methodius
entered priesthood and were commissioned by the Emperor in 863 to be missionaries in Moravia (Slovakia). The developed a
that was still used in Croatia until the 1900's. Using their alphabet they translated the Bible for the Slavs and used Slavonic language in the liturgy, other missionaries tried to declare them as heretics for this but the Pope gave them permission. All of Moravia was converted by the time they died. in 1980 Pope JPII named the brothers Patrons of Europe.
Conversion of Poland
Duke Mieszko and St. Dubravka (married) encouraged subjects to become Christians. In 992, Miesko placed all of Poland in the service of the Pope, thus creating a unique relationship and making Poland a vassal land of the popes.
Conversion of Russian and Ukraine
was a pagan ruler in Russian is the late 900's. He had 5 wives, 12 children, many idols and shrines to pagan gods and was ruthless. He wanted to find ways to strengthen his rule so he began looking into (Latin and Byzantine) Christianity, Judaism and Islam, comparing and contrasting how they could solidify his power. He sent 3 emissaries to investigate these three faiths. They said they "knew not whether they were in heaven or on earth" with Christianity. Christianity faintly entered his mind for purely utilitarian purposes. The Byzantine Emperor was in need of aid and makes a deal with Vladimir for 6,000 warriors in trade of marriage to the Byzantine princess (emperors sister, Anna). Only if Vladimir was a Christian. So he was baptized. The reality is yes, Vladimir treated baptism as a formality but radical changes followed in his demeanor which show the powerful work of grace. He began to truly understand and desire his faith. He was not aided by any priest but was a serious follower of Christ just by following his will. He dismissed his 5 wives for Anna, tore down idols and shrines and built churches, monasteries, and Christian schools.